cardigan · handspun · knitting · knitting with handspun · process · spinning · yarn

A Year in the Making: Sparkle Cardigan

Slow cloth is just that: Slow. It takes a long time to make and there is deep consideration of the process. I started spinning for this project last year, on October 1, 2017, to be exact. I finished the spinning in February 2018 after a long final push to get the project finished. It had been my Spinzilla 2017 spin but because I decided not to participate in Spinzilla at the last minute due to some other commitments, I didn’t get nearly as much spinning done as I thought that I would during that week. I had bought the fibre at Knit City just a week prior and was excited to start spinning immediately. The fibre was an 80/20 Romney and Mohair blend from my friend, Laurie, of Disdero Ranch in Barrier, BC. Her ranch is about 4 hours driving from my home and I look forward to seeing her every year at both Fibres West in March and Knit City in October. She’s a wonderful person and if you’d like to learn more about her, an episode of Wool n’ Spinning Radio featured an interview with her here (for patrons). Her farm is also a no-kill farm so she’s not farming for meat, which is something I try to support whenever I can.

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The fibre I bought was a pin-drafted roving so the prep was already done for me and I started to spin, spin, spin. It was a daunting project to spin through because I wanted to create heavy fingering weight yarn. In the end, I have about 1200 yards of yarn. This cardigan took about half of the yarn so I have a lot of yarn leftover! I never took the time to calculate grist but will do so and then I’ll have an accurate idea of not only how much yarn I used in this cardigan but how much I have left!

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The finished yarn was lovely to swatch and knit with. There is a slightly halo from the Mohair. I was excited to knit with this yarn but what to knit? As I scrolled through Ravelry, unsure about which projects to choose, I wondered whether I should weave a throw with the yarn instead. It would be a fast, easy project and I would have a finished woven blanket in the end! Then Joji Locatelli published her Sparkle Cardigan and I cast on immediately. It took me a long to finish for bunch of reasons I’ll discuss below, but I was smitten with the cardigan itself.

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Pattern: Sparkle Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

Yarn: Disdero Ranch Romney & Mohair (80/20) blend handspun page here

Needles: 3.75mm body of cardigan; 3.5mm ribbing, button band, sleeves

Ravelry Project Page here

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There were a few things that made this project challenging from the gauge to the amount of knitting. There is a crap-ton of knitting in this project! Think of all that lace to knit! It’s not mindless back and forth. I had to pay attention. Although the pattern is easily memorized, it keeps your interest enough that you need to pay attention so as not to mess up the direction of the lace. I added about 4 inches to the body of the cardigan to compensate for my long torso – about 4 inches longer than conventional patterns are written for and due to my body shape, it is more flattering than a mid-length cardigan. While this created more knitting, it was worth the results. I love the length and it accentuates my shape, rather than cutting me off in the wrong place.

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The button band is not picked up and knit as the pattern calls for. I like those button bands, there’s nothing wrong with them but I prefer a sewn on button band, which I also did on several other cardigans. Those included my Acer, Boyfriend and Craftsy Mods sweater. Yes, these button bands take longer to sew on. Yes, they are finicky. But they look amazing. The results are so worthwhile! I used a 1×1 rib, which I always do, and added an extra seam stitch at the one side to use to sew onto the cardigan. The results are perfect.

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I ran into problems when I started my sleeves. As I have chronicled on the podcast, I had a major change of gauge when I switched from working flat to in-the-round. Yes, I could have done a second gauge swatch to plan for this. Yes, I could have knit the sleeves flat and seamed them. Yes, I probably shouldn’t have cast off in tubular bind off (incredibly annoying to undo). BUT! In the end, it didn’t really matter. Yes, I had to knit the sleeves again but I loved working with this yarn so I didn’t really mind that much. And the second time knitting them was really, really fast.

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The first set of sleeves, I’d knit to full length but as soon as I tried on the cardigan, I started pushing them up my arm. It didn’t look very nice and it completely detracted from the yarn itself. Why knit full-length sleeves if I was going to just push them up my arm? So I decided on the second set, that I would knit to about 3 inches above my wrist. Longer than 3/4 length but shorter than full length. From my underarm to my thumb joint at the base is 19 inches. I knit the sleeves until about 16 inches. I usually knit 3/4 length sleeves to about 13-14 inches. The effect is perfect and I really like the length. I can also wear a bracelet with the sweater without having it hidden underneath the sleeve!

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Overall, I am so happy with my results. The cardigan is exactly what I’d hoped it would be and the process was so worthwhile. I found the yellow flower buttons at my local LYS, 88 Stitches, and I am really happy with them on the cardigan. I can button it up nicely (although I’ll never wear it like that) and it looks amazing with different shirts from my wardrobe.

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This sweater was well-worth the wait to create!

3 thoughts on “A Year in the Making: Sparkle Cardigan

  1. Your sweater is gorgeous – I know you’ll get many years of enjoyment out of this classic style. Although I just yesterday watched your show where you talked about making this sweater, it was really nice to see a discussion here, too.

    Thanks for blogging – I appreciate a thoughtful bit of prose in this vast sea of ‘quick hit’ posting.

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